Y Notes

New activities at the YMCA

  • Over the new few months, I will be highlighting the different activities and programs available at the YMCA.

    There are simply too many to properly showcase each fitness class or youth activity in one column.

    But to kick things off, I would like everyone to consider something trying something new. It’s that first step which is often poses the biggest hurdle.

    And people come up with a variety of excuses from lack of time to intimidation of walking into a new group of people to waiting for a day not ending in Y.

    But there is never a perfect time to try something different, to venture out of your comfort zone.

    So instead of waiting for the New Year or even the first of the month, visit the YMCA website for a complete list of fitness classes or the pool schedule.

    There are ample opportunities to dabble in something different, to take a new challenge.

    Consider the fitness class, Strong by Zumba, which returns in October, allowing you to test your dance skills as well as your cardio-fitness levels.

    And rest assured what happens in Zumba, stays in Zumba, especially since the blinds are pulled shut and there are no video cameras in the exercise room.

    Trying something new and different isn’t just limited to adults.

    Naturally, many of the activities at the Y will expose kids to something new.

    There is Child Watch, the child care program for kids while their parents are using the facility.

    For some kids, this may be their first time separated from their parents or their first time around other kids who aren’t their siblings.

    Swim lessons are another natural first for many kids.

    It’s impossible to know how many kids have dipped their foot into a pool for the first time at the Y.

    But thousands of kids over the years have received their first taste of a swimming pool at the Y, whether at swim lessons or venturing into the kiddie pool in the arms of their parents.

    And you don’t have to be in the Y to try something new.

    The Heritage Days Road Race, sponsored by the YMCA and Parker Hannifin, will be next Saturday, Sept. 29 at 7:30 a.m.

    If you have never competed in a road race or covered 3.1 miles, the Heritage Days run/walk is the perfect opportunity to check that off your list.

    The weather is usually beautiful…not too hot, not too cold…although I’ve probably jinxed myself by promising that Mother Nature will cooperate.

    The course provides a challenge, offering downhills, uphills and everything in between.

    Many people think of McCook as flat, but there is a reason there is an “upper” and “lower” shelter house at Kelley Park, which the road race crosses through several times.

    And finally, the route follows the walking trails and McCook streets, so the chances of getting lost are lessened.

    Not eliminated, just lessened.

    And if all else fails, there will likely be a float or antique car passing by on the way to the parade, so you can catch a ride back to Norris Park.

    Heck, you may even end up making a new friend, getting asked to ride the float in the parade and end up with your picture on the front of the Gazette.

    Just consider all the possibilities if you simply try something new.


     Text

  • 21-Sep-2018

Over the new few months, I will be highlighting the different activities and programs available at the YMCA.

There are simply too many to properly showcase each fitness class or youth activity in one column.

But to kick things off, I would like everyone to consider something trying something new. It’s that first step which is often poses the biggest hurdle.

And people come up with a variety of excuses from lack of time to intimidation of walking into a new group of people to waiting for a day not ending in Y.

But there is never a perfect time to try something different, to venture out of your comfort zone.

So instead of waiting for the New Year or even the first of the month, visit the YMCA website for a complete list of fitness classes or the pool schedule.

There are ample opportunities to dabble in something different, to take a new challenge.

Consider the fitness class, Strong by Zumba, which returns in October, allowing you to test your dance skills as well as your cardio-fitness levels.

And rest assured what happens in Zumba, stays in Zumba, especially since the blinds are pulled shut and there are no video cameras in the exercise room.

Trying something new and different isn’t just limited to adults.

Naturally, many of the activities at the Y will expose kids to something new.

There is Child Watch, the child care program for kids while their parents are using the facility.

For some kids, this may be their first time separated from their parents or their first time around other kids who aren’t their siblings.

Swim lessons are another natural first for many kids.

It’s impossible to know how many kids have dipped their foot into a pool for the first time at the Y.

But thousands of kids over the years have received their first taste of a swimming pool at the Y, whether at swim lessons or venturing into the kiddie pool in the arms of their parents.

And you don’t have to be in the Y to try something new.

The Heritage Days Road Race, sponsored by the YMCA and Parker Hannifin, will be next Saturday, Sept. 29 at 7:30 a.m.

If you have never competed in a road race or covered 3.1 miles, the Heritage Days run/walk is the perfect opportunity to check that off your list.

The weather is usually beautiful…not too hot, not too cold…although I’ve probably jinxed myself by promising that Mother Nature will cooperate.

The course provides a challenge, offering downhills, uphills and everything in between.

Many people think of McCook as flat, but there is a reason there is an “upper” and “lower” shelter house at Kelley Park, which the road race crosses through several times.

And finally, the route follows the walking trails and McCook streets, so the chances of getting lost are lessened.

Not eliminated, just lessened.

And if all else fails, there will likely be a float or antique car passing by on the way to the parade, so you can catch a ride back to Norris Park.

Heck, you may even end up making a new friend, getting asked to ride the float in the parade and end up with your picture on the front of the Gazette.

Just consider all the possibilities if you simply try something new.


 Text

Not 12 anymore? Say it isn't so

  • With every stroke into the water, a tinge of pain shot through my left shoulder. I had avoided the YMCA pool for more than a week but dove in Wednesday morning for a brief workout.

    At the end of the first lap, my shoulder pulsed with a dull pain but I wanted to see if the discomfort would ease up after I got warmed up.

    Twenty laps later, I pulled myself out of the pool, glad that I had completed the swim workout but grateful that the hot tub around the corner was ready and waiting for me.

    My shoulder doesn’t normally hurt when I’m swimming. But last week, I learned that I’m no longer 12-years-old.

    I learned - make that relearned - that I don’t heal as quickly after I injure myself.

    I quickly learned that I cannot hit the ground and just pop right back up like I did when I was young. I learned that I can be covered in mud, riding down the highway after wrecking a bicycle, and no one will bat an eye…but that is an issue for another column.

    In the midst of all the rain last week, a couple friends and I decided to ride the gravel roads south of McCook on our bicycles.

    We were training for a race in an area which had also seen a lot of rain, so we figured our muddy roads would perfectly replicate the conditions.

    After an hour on the gravel roads, we had just a four-mile stretch before the ride ended. But that four-mile stretch was muddier than everything we had ridden all day.

    On just the second hill, my bike went out from under me in the soft layer of mud.

    In the blink of an eye, I had flown over my handlebars, slamming my shoulder into the dirt road, which may have been soft on the top but was hard-packed just under the surface.

    Over the next week, I glanced at the pool every time I entered the YMCA, but knew the movement of lap swimming would test my pain tolerance.

    But I also knew the water would limit stress on my joints and help heal my muscles.

    Many people underestimate the value of the pool, both as a form of exercise and for recovery.

    But every day, the aquatic area sees a constant stream of people using the pool and hot tub for a variety of reasons.

    Every weekday morning, the exercise classes fill the shallow end of the pool, offering both fitness and socialization.

    People on the mend after surgery use the pool as a way to rebuild strength, stamina and movement. And lap swimmers criss-cross the pool for hours on end, finishing with miles and miles to their credit.

    Thankfully, my shoulder is on the mend after the bike accident and lap swimming is back on my training schedule.

    I’ll try to take it easy and remain grateful that there is equipment and a great pool at the YMCA to help me both stay in shape and recover after these somewhat frequent mishaps.

    But I can’t make any claims that I have learned my lesson; nor that I won’t do something to remind me that I’m not 12 anymore.

    After all, it’s not like this is the first time I have injured my shoulder.

    This isn’t even the first time I’ve injured my shoulder this year.

    An injury to the same shoulder from a treacherous sledding accident in February is still nagging me.

    Guess, I’ll never learn.

     Text

  • 14-Sep-2018

With every stroke into the water, a tinge of pain shot through my left shoulder. I had avoided the YMCA pool for more than a week but dove in Wednesday morning for a brief workout.

At the end of the first lap, my shoulder pulsed with a dull pain but I wanted to see if the discomfort would ease up after I got warmed up.

Twenty laps later, I pulled myself out of the pool, glad that I had completed the swim workout but grateful that the hot tub around the corner was ready and waiting for me.

My shoulder doesn’t normally hurt when I’m swimming. But last week, I learned that I’m no longer 12-years-old.

I learned - make that relearned - that I don’t heal as quickly after I injure myself.

I quickly learned that I cannot hit the ground and just pop right back up like I did when I was young. I learned that I can be covered in mud, riding down the highway after wrecking a bicycle, and no one will bat an eye…but that is an issue for another column.

In the midst of all the rain last week, a couple friends and I decided to ride the gravel roads south of McCook on our bicycles.

We were training for a race in an area which had also seen a lot of rain, so we figured our muddy roads would perfectly replicate the conditions.

After an hour on the gravel roads, we had just a four-mile stretch before the ride ended. But that four-mile stretch was muddier than everything we had ridden all day.

On just the second hill, my bike went out from under me in the soft layer of mud.

In the blink of an eye, I had flown over my handlebars, slamming my shoulder into the dirt road, which may have been soft on the top but was hard-packed just under the surface.

Over the next week, I glanced at the pool every time I entered the YMCA, but knew the movement of lap swimming would test my pain tolerance.

But I also knew the water would limit stress on my joints and help heal my muscles.

Many people underestimate the value of the pool, both as a form of exercise and for recovery.

But every day, the aquatic area sees a constant stream of people using the pool and hot tub for a variety of reasons.

Every weekday morning, the exercise classes fill the shallow end of the pool, offering both fitness and socialization.

People on the mend after surgery use the pool as a way to rebuild strength, stamina and movement. And lap swimmers criss-cross the pool for hours on end, finishing with miles and miles to their credit.

Thankfully, my shoulder is on the mend after the bike accident and lap swimming is back on my training schedule.

I’ll try to take it easy and remain grateful that there is equipment and a great pool at the YMCA to help me both stay in shape and recover after these somewhat frequent mishaps.

But I can’t make any claims that I have learned my lesson; nor that I won’t do something to remind me that I’m not 12 anymore.

After all, it’s not like this is the first time I have injured my shoulder.

This isn’t even the first time I’ve injured my shoulder this year.

An injury to the same shoulder from a treacherous sledding accident in February is still nagging me.

Guess, I’ll never learn.

 Text

Struggling to Resume Exercise Routine

  • Since Monday was a holiday, everyone gets a free pass this shortened week to put off the inevitable: resuming a routine. (Who else kept thinking it was a Monday until at least 2:14 p.m. on Tuesday?)

    With school back in session and sports practices underway and music lessons resumed, it is time to get back on a routine - on a healthy routine with more sleep, more exercise, nutritious meals and, in general, less chaos.

    Monday, let’s aim for Monday with a full, glorious week ahead of us to establish a good, healthy routine.

    But there is a lot of work ahead and a lot of bad habits to combat.

    As summer progressed, bedtime at my house got later and later. It’s hard to go to crawl in bed - much less go to sleep - when there is still light in the sky.

    As the first day of school approached, I tried to get my kids to bed earlier.

    But even two weeks in, we are still struggling to eat dinner before 8:30 p.m. and get to bed at a decent time.

    But I am determined to get the family back on a routine, whether it’s a meal plan for the week or making sure the designated homework area is clear of clutter.

    And resuming a routine won’t just benefit the kids.

    My exercise routine has taken a hit as of late because of disorganization, lack of sleep. and a general lack of enthusiasm.

    People think I jump out of bed when my alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m. so I can arrive at the Y when it opens at 5 a.m.

    In reality, I’m lucky if I’m on a treadmill by 5:30 a.m. these days.

    I will readily confess that I didn’t show up until 5:48 a.m. Wednesday…and left at 6:06 a.m. for coffee. Priorities.

    There are a variety of reasons why I’m struggling to get back into a good exercise routine.

    Washing dishes late into the night, helping with homework that was “misplaced” until it was time for bed, or the inability to not watch whatever random Netflix show my husband is watching.

    The excuses are infinite.

    And it’s not just me who are struggling to get back into a routine.

    Throughout the day, I regularly see people who were dedicated 5 a.m. exercisers, but have fallen out of practice over the summer.

    After a variety of excuses, the conversation boils down to that they are out of their normal routine.

    They swear they will get back into a regular regimen after school gets back in session or after the holidays or when they can get more than 5 hours of sleep.

    Again, the excuses are infinite.

    But the time has come to dig out those sweatpants from the bottom of your laundry basket.

    While we all know the drill, here’s a few gentle reminders to get you back on track, whether it comes to exercising or just trying to fit something healthy back to your life:

    Lay out your workout clothes the night before.

    Whether it’s a swimsuit for a few laps in the pool or biking shoes for the indoor cycling class, you are more apt to fit in your exercise session if the clothes are out in the open and ready to go.

    Develop a training schedule.

    If you know you are supposed to do an hour on the treadmill or 20 minutes on the bike, you are more likely to stick with the plan.

    Join a fitness class or find an exercise buddy. There is nothing like the guilt of missing a few classes or knowing that someone is waiting for you at the gym to motivate you.

    And there is no time like the present.

    If we don’t get a routine established now, we will soon be derailed by other important priorities, like giant pumpkin flavored lattes, endless Christmas cookies, countless holiday parties, where you are going to try just one…of everything.

     Text

  • 07-Sep-2018

Since Monday was a holiday, everyone gets a free pass this shortened week to put off the inevitable: resuming a routine. (Who else kept thinking it was a Monday until at least 2:14 p.m. on Tuesday?)

With school back in session and sports practices underway and music lessons resumed, it is time to get back on a routine - on a healthy routine with more sleep, more exercise, nutritious meals and, in general, less chaos.

Monday, let’s aim for Monday with a full, glorious week ahead of us to establish a good, healthy routine.

But there is a lot of work ahead and a lot of bad habits to combat.

As summer progressed, bedtime at my house got later and later. It’s hard to go to crawl in bed - much less go to sleep - when there is still light in the sky.

As the first day of school approached, I tried to get my kids to bed earlier.

But even two weeks in, we are still struggling to eat dinner before 8:30 p.m. and get to bed at a decent time.

But I am determined to get the family back on a routine, whether it’s a meal plan for the week or making sure the designated homework area is clear of clutter.

And resuming a routine won’t just benefit the kids.

My exercise routine has taken a hit as of late because of disorganization, lack of sleep. and a general lack of enthusiasm.

People think I jump out of bed when my alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m. so I can arrive at the Y when it opens at 5 a.m.

In reality, I’m lucky if I’m on a treadmill by 5:30 a.m. these days.

I will readily confess that I didn’t show up until 5:48 a.m. Wednesday…and left at 6:06 a.m. for coffee. Priorities.

There are a variety of reasons why I’m struggling to get back into a good exercise routine.

Washing dishes late into the night, helping with homework that was “misplaced” until it was time for bed, or the inability to not watch whatever random Netflix show my husband is watching.

The excuses are infinite.

And it’s not just me who are struggling to get back into a routine.

Throughout the day, I regularly see people who were dedicated 5 a.m. exercisers, but have fallen out of practice over the summer.

After a variety of excuses, the conversation boils down to that they are out of their normal routine.

They swear they will get back into a regular regimen after school gets back in session or after the holidays or when they can get more than 5 hours of sleep.

Again, the excuses are infinite.

But the time has come to dig out those sweatpants from the bottom of your laundry basket.

While we all know the drill, here’s a few gentle reminders to get you back on track, whether it comes to exercising or just trying to fit something healthy back to your life:

Lay out your workout clothes the night before.

Whether it’s a swimsuit for a few laps in the pool or biking shoes for the indoor cycling class, you are more apt to fit in your exercise session if the clothes are out in the open and ready to go.

Develop a training schedule.

If you know you are supposed to do an hour on the treadmill or 20 minutes on the bike, you are more likely to stick with the plan.

Join a fitness class or find an exercise buddy. There is nothing like the guilt of missing a few classes or knowing that someone is waiting for you at the gym to motivate you.

And there is no time like the present.

If we don’t get a routine established now, we will soon be derailed by other important priorities, like giant pumpkin flavored lattes, endless Christmas cookies, countless holiday parties, where you are going to try just one…of everything.

 Text

Appreciating the indoors

  • I have a confession to make:

    Sometimes...especially during the summer...I exercise outside, rather inside at the Y.

    When the weather is nice, it is hard to beat a nice bike ride to Culbertson for breakfast. There is the joy of a run on the trail through Kelley Park and spotting deer or turkey among the trees. And the other night after a swim at Red Willow SRA, my friends and I sat around and watched the sunset over the lake. It was the perfect way to end the day.

    But Mother Nature must be cooperating and she’s not always that nice. When the wind is howling, the rain is pouring or the snow is blowing, that is when you truly value the Y.

    And sometimes, it’s even things we wish for such as sun and warmth, which can make you dream of being inside.

    A couple weeks ago, I participated in a triathlon in Boulder. Leading up to the event, my friends and I had two primary concerns: the lack of oxygen and the mountainous terrain. After all, we more than double the altitude from training in McCook to swimming in the Boulder Reservoir. And a 15-percent-grade hill seven miles into the bike ride forced some participants to walk to the top.

    But it was a third element which really took its toll: the heat and sun. As we embarked on the 6-mile run, the sun was beating down in all its’ glory. While organizers tried to be prepared at aid stations, they quickly ran out of the most coveted item: ice cubes. We finished but were not sure if we were dehydrated from sweating so much or water-logged because we tried to drink so much.

    With people are outside more during the summer, they may not immediately notice the changes when they return to the Y.

    But hop on a treadmill or a rowing machine and you will notice a difference. Dozens of new pieces of exercise equipment arrived earlier this week, either replacing older models or adding to the units already in place.

    All the bikes for the rYde class - the indoor spinning class - were replaced with the most current models available. The excuse for going so slow because of the bike has been removed; now, it’s all on the rider.

    Several of the treadmills were replaced with new models, including two with distinct features.

    In addition to one already in the Y’s line-up, one of the new treadmills will both incline and decline. Many people assume running downhill is easy. It is at first. But do it for a while and parts you didn’t know exist will start to hurt.

    Another treadmill is going retro - partially. It needs no electrical hook-up because it is manual. However fast the runner or walker is going, that is how fast the treadmill will turn. It still has a display to measure distance and speed, but if you want the treadmill to move, you must get moving.

    And for those fond of the rowing machine, the Y has doubled the fun. The original rowing machine was actually a used model, donated to the Y. It has been replaced with a new unit with a second rowing machine added because of the its’ popularity.

    So even if the sun is shining, stop by to try out the new equipment. I’ll even provide the ice.

     

     Text

  • 20-Jul-2018

I have a confession to make:

Sometimes...especially during the summer...I exercise outside, rather inside at the Y.

When the weather is nice, it is hard to beat a nice bike ride to Culbertson for breakfast. There is the joy of a run on the trail through Kelley Park and spotting deer or turkey among the trees. And the other night after a swim at Red Willow SRA, my friends and I sat around and watched the sunset over the lake. It was the perfect way to end the day.

But Mother Nature must be cooperating and she’s not always that nice. When the wind is howling, the rain is pouring or the snow is blowing, that is when you truly value the Y.

And sometimes, it’s even things we wish for such as sun and warmth, which can make you dream of being inside.

A couple weeks ago, I participated in a triathlon in Boulder. Leading up to the event, my friends and I had two primary concerns: the lack of oxygen and the mountainous terrain. After all, we more than double the altitude from training in McCook to swimming in the Boulder Reservoir. And a 15-percent-grade hill seven miles into the bike ride forced some participants to walk to the top.

But it was a third element which really took its toll: the heat and sun. As we embarked on the 6-mile run, the sun was beating down in all its’ glory. While organizers tried to be prepared at aid stations, they quickly ran out of the most coveted item: ice cubes. We finished but were not sure if we were dehydrated from sweating so much or water-logged because we tried to drink so much.

With people are outside more during the summer, they may not immediately notice the changes when they return to the Y.

But hop on a treadmill or a rowing machine and you will notice a difference. Dozens of new pieces of exercise equipment arrived earlier this week, either replacing older models or adding to the units already in place.

All the bikes for the rYde class - the indoor spinning class - were replaced with the most current models available. The excuse for going so slow because of the bike has been removed; now, it’s all on the rider.

Several of the treadmills were replaced with new models, including two with distinct features.

In addition to one already in the Y’s line-up, one of the new treadmills will both incline and decline. Many people assume running downhill is easy. It is at first. But do it for a while and parts you didn’t know exist will start to hurt.

Another treadmill is going retro - partially. It needs no electrical hook-up because it is manual. However fast the runner or walker is going, that is how fast the treadmill will turn. It still has a display to measure distance and speed, but if you want the treadmill to move, you must get moving.

And for those fond of the rowing machine, the Y has doubled the fun. The original rowing machine was actually a used model, donated to the Y. It has been replaced with a new unit with a second rowing machine added because of the its’ popularity.

So even if the sun is shining, stop by to try out the new equipment. I’ll even provide the ice.

 

 Text

Going off-road for fitness series

  •  

    Last weekend, the Republican River Fitness Series went off-road...and into the river...and over some logs...and through some sand, lots of sand, as part of the Republican River Adventure Run.

    Hosted by the Hitchcock County Schools Foundation, the race in Trenton is the smallest event in the fitness series, which is sponsored by the YMCA and Community Hospital.

    But the adventure run is perhaps my favorite because it is features a course unlike any other. (Thank you to the land-owners who let us run through their fields for the day.)

    The 3.1 miles - or somewhat close to that - covers a high school track surface, cement stairs, grass, dirt and logs and crosses the Republican River at least twice. But as everyone crossed the finish line Saturday, the most common refrain was, “There was a lot of sand.”

    I admit that I didn’t run the course until the Monday after the race. And everyone was right about the sand; there was a lot of it compared to previous years. It was along the river banks and among the trees. And the course winds around the edge of a sand and gravel company, which looks like it has doubled its’ digging site since last year, giving us more sand to traipse through.

    To say that running through sand is a workout is an understatement. Your foot slides every time you put it down. And as you push off, your foot slips just a little bit.

    And it isn’t just the sand which can trip people up.

    We never know until the day of the race if we will be able to cross the river, despite building bridges for the event. While the foundation board members did their best to create a stable bridge, one or two participants finished with wet shoes.

    As I ran the course Monday, I was reminded why I like this race so much. I came within a few few of several deer, the river was teeming with fish along the shore line, and I saw birds around every turn….all while trying to maintain my footing on the sand.

    In addition to our overall male and female winners, Caleb Wilkinson and Stacy Blomstedt, I want to give a shout-out to all 40 of our runners and walkers who participated in Saturday’s event. It is a tough course but not one they will forget anytime soon.

     

    Next up is the biggest event of the series: the Community Hospital’s Just for Fun Walk/Run on Thursday, May 10. The race starts at 6 p.m. at the hospital’s Patient Accounts building on East H and 11th streets. Don’t’ worry, it is easy to find. Just look for all the people standing around like they want to walk or run a few miles.

    What makes Just for Fun Run/Walk the biggest event? Maybe it is the course along McCook’s beautiful walking trail. Maybe it is the door prizes at the end the race. But I’m going to go out on a limb and assume it is the cost.

    Thanks to Community Hospital, there is no charge for the Just for Fun Walk/Run next week. The race still includes awards for the top three in each age divisions, points in the fitness series for those who place in the top 5 of their age division and, of course, snacks waiting at the finish line. But there is no fee for the Just for Fun Run/Walk.

    Registration is open online now until 5:45 p.m. next Thursday at www.republicanriverfitnessseries.com. Race-day registration is 4:45-5:45 p.m. at the Patient Accounts building.

    That being said, your phone or your computer is likely within arms reach as you read this, so you could do it right now instead of adding it to your never-ending to-do list.

    The run is a great way to spend an evening with family and friends. And you can’t beat the cost.

     

     Text

  • 03-May-2018

 

Last weekend, the Republican River Fitness Series went off-road...and into the river...and over some logs...and through some sand, lots of sand, as part of the Republican River Adventure Run.

Hosted by the Hitchcock County Schools Foundation, the race in Trenton is the smallest event in the fitness series, which is sponsored by the YMCA and Community Hospital.

But the adventure run is perhaps my favorite because it is features a course unlike any other. (Thank you to the land-owners who let us run through their fields for the day.)

The 3.1 miles - or somewhat close to that - covers a high school track surface, cement stairs, grass, dirt and logs and crosses the Republican River at least twice. But as everyone crossed the finish line Saturday, the most common refrain was, “There was a lot of sand.”

I admit that I didn’t run the course until the Monday after the race. And everyone was right about the sand; there was a lot of it compared to previous years. It was along the river banks and among the trees. And the course winds around the edge of a sand and gravel company, which looks like it has doubled its’ digging site since last year, giving us more sand to traipse through.

To say that running through sand is a workout is an understatement. Your foot slides every time you put it down. And as you push off, your foot slips just a little bit.

And it isn’t just the sand which can trip people up.

We never know until the day of the race if we will be able to cross the river, despite building bridges for the event. While the foundation board members did their best to create a stable bridge, one or two participants finished with wet shoes.

As I ran the course Monday, I was reminded why I like this race so much. I came within a few few of several deer, the river was teeming with fish along the shore line, and I saw birds around every turn….all while trying to maintain my footing on the sand.

In addition to our overall male and female winners, Caleb Wilkinson and Stacy Blomstedt, I want to give a shout-out to all 40 of our runners and walkers who participated in Saturday’s event. It is a tough course but not one they will forget anytime soon.

 

Next up is the biggest event of the series: the Community Hospital’s Just for Fun Walk/Run on Thursday, May 10. The race starts at 6 p.m. at the hospital’s Patient Accounts building on East H and 11th streets. Don’t’ worry, it is easy to find. Just look for all the people standing around like they want to walk or run a few miles.

What makes Just for Fun Run/Walk the biggest event? Maybe it is the course along McCook’s beautiful walking trail. Maybe it is the door prizes at the end the race. But I’m going to go out on a limb and assume it is the cost.

Thanks to Community Hospital, there is no charge for the Just for Fun Walk/Run next week. The race still includes awards for the top three in each age divisions, points in the fitness series for those who place in the top 5 of their age division and, of course, snacks waiting at the finish line. But there is no fee for the Just for Fun Run/Walk.

Registration is open online now until 5:45 p.m. next Thursday at www.republicanriverfitnessseries.com. Race-day registration is 4:45-5:45 p.m. at the Patient Accounts building.

That being said, your phone or your computer is likely within arms reach as you read this, so you could do it right now instead of adding it to your never-ending to-do list.

The run is a great way to spend an evening with family and friends. And you can’t beat the cost.

 

 Text

Just stick with it

  •  

    The change is subtle at first. A few more people on the treadmill. A few more people in lap pool. A few more people in the fitness classes.

    Then the next week, you arrive at 5 p.m. and the front row of exercise machines are completely full. You figure out how three people can swim in a lap lane. You get the last stationary bike in the rYde class.

    Welcome to January at the YMCA.

    January is the busiest month of the year at the YMCA - or at least it seems that way.

    There is the obvious reason: New Year’s Resolutions. People are trying to kick off the new year with healthy habits such as exercising on a regular basis. These people are there in force at the beginning of January. But by February, the novelty of this new exercise begins to wane and there are few more elliptical machines open in the evening.

    The YMCA also sees a dramatic surge when the weather turns cold. The slick streets and whipping winds convince people that the treadmills aren’t so bad. They will remain inside until the weather turns nice or they have watched every episode of Law and Order.

    And then there is the YMCA’s Lighten Up Team Challenge, which begins this week with the initial weigh-ins and fitness assessments. For the next three months, participants will take part in weekly group fitness classes, get in extra sessions in the weight room, or a few extra laps around the indoor track.

    But will these new habits last? The common theory is that it takes anywhere from 21 to 29 days for a habit to become ingrained. Hence, the dramatic drop-off by February.

    So whether you are part of Lighten Up or doing it on your own, figure out how to make a commitment to exercising on a regular basis...and how to make it realistic.

    Those new to exercising need to figure out two issues. First, you need to figure a good time of day to fit in a workout.

    While I hop out of bed to work-out at 5 a.m., my husband can’t wrap his head around getting up that early. One word: Naps.

    Consequently, I don’t understand how he can run 3 or 4 miles late at night and then fall fast asleep right afterward. My mind and body is still racing for a couple hours after I’m done.

    A common practice is to exercise while your child is also at the YMCA, whether for a swim lesson or basketball practice. Others prefer to stop by on their way home from work, knowing that once they get home, they won’t leave again that evening. And then there is the tag-team method, where one parents exercises while the other stays home with the small children; then they trade off...hopefully that same day.

    The second issue to address is what kind of exercise do you want to do, whether it is a fitness classes, the weight room, exercise machines, or group sports. The options are endless and can be switched up, but should fit your needs and personality.

    For the past year, I followed a triathlon training schedule so I spent a lot of solo time in the pool, on the bike or the treadmill. I simply didn’t have time for a fitness class. But over the past month, I’ve fit in a couple yoga classes and plan to try the new Zumba strength class next week.

    So pledge to try out a new class each week or build your endurance on the cardio equipment for a month...whatever it will take to make that new healthy, active lifestyle stick. We want to see those fitness classes full and the treadmills whirring, whether it’s January or June.



     Text

  • 05-Jan-2018

 

The change is subtle at first. A few more people on the treadmill. A few more people in lap pool. A few more people in the fitness classes.

Then the next week, you arrive at 5 p.m. and the front row of exercise machines are completely full. You figure out how three people can swim in a lap lane. You get the last stationary bike in the rYde class.

Welcome to January at the YMCA.

January is the busiest month of the year at the YMCA - or at least it seems that way.

There is the obvious reason: New Year’s Resolutions. People are trying to kick off the new year with healthy habits such as exercising on a regular basis. These people are there in force at the beginning of January. But by February, the novelty of this new exercise begins to wane and there are few more elliptical machines open in the evening.

The YMCA also sees a dramatic surge when the weather turns cold. The slick streets and whipping winds convince people that the treadmills aren’t so bad. They will remain inside until the weather turns nice or they have watched every episode of Law and Order.

And then there is the YMCA’s Lighten Up Team Challenge, which begins this week with the initial weigh-ins and fitness assessments. For the next three months, participants will take part in weekly group fitness classes, get in extra sessions in the weight room, or a few extra laps around the indoor track.

But will these new habits last? The common theory is that it takes anywhere from 21 to 29 days for a habit to become ingrained. Hence, the dramatic drop-off by February.

So whether you are part of Lighten Up or doing it on your own, figure out how to make a commitment to exercising on a regular basis...and how to make it realistic.

Those new to exercising need to figure out two issues. First, you need to figure a good time of day to fit in a workout.

While I hop out of bed to work-out at 5 a.m., my husband can’t wrap his head around getting up that early. One word: Naps.

Consequently, I don’t understand how he can run 3 or 4 miles late at night and then fall fast asleep right afterward. My mind and body is still racing for a couple hours after I’m done.

A common practice is to exercise while your child is also at the YMCA, whether for a swim lesson or basketball practice. Others prefer to stop by on their way home from work, knowing that once they get home, they won’t leave again that evening. And then there is the tag-team method, where one parents exercises while the other stays home with the small children; then they trade off...hopefully that same day.

The second issue to address is what kind of exercise do you want to do, whether it is a fitness classes, the weight room, exercise machines, or group sports. The options are endless and can be switched up, but should fit your needs and personality.

For the past year, I followed a triathlon training schedule so I spent a lot of solo time in the pool, on the bike or the treadmill. I simply didn’t have time for a fitness class. But over the past month, I’ve fit in a couple yoga classes and plan to try the new Zumba strength class next week.

So pledge to try out a new class each week or build your endurance on the cardio equipment for a month...whatever it will take to make that new healthy, active lifestyle stick. We want to see those fitness classes full and the treadmills whirring, whether it’s January or June.



 Text

Simple goal: Maintain not gain

  • With Christmas just a few days away, I have achieved a major accomplishment: I haven’t baked, created, or made a single Christmas candy or cookie.

    The cookie cutters are still on the top shelf, untouched since last December. The peanuts are still waiting to be turned into peanut brittle. And the Hershey kisses are only unwrapped to be eaten immediately instead of topping the peanut butter cookie.

    But that’s not to say I haven’t had my fair share of Christmas cookies and candies this holiday season already. Despite not getting to the holiday baking yet this year, gift packages of fudge and frosted sugar cookies have arrived on a regular basis. Trays of green, white and red confectionaries are available at every gathering for four weeks straight. And who can pass up the plate of goodies in the break room at the office?

    Which makes it all that much harder to stay competitive with my friends, who have placed a wager among ourselves to “maintain, not gain” over the holidays. They each entrusted me with a small wager to see who could get through Christmas and New Year’s without the nearly-mandatory holiday weight gain.

    We didn’t even try to fool ourselves that we would lose weight during December. Maybe some people have that willpower, but we just wanted to lessen the casualties of the season. It’s pretty simple: We must weigh the same (give or take one pound) or less on Jan. 3. Those who can achieve that goal get their money back. Those who fail lose their money and it is divided among the winners.

    It is enough motivation to get up on a cold, dark morning to go to the YMCA for a morning swim, when the warm, comfy bed is calling your name. O.K., the bed does win out some mornings, but that wager gets you up the next day for a fitness class or a couple miles on the treadmill.

    I will admit that if I had to weigh in today, my friends would be splitting my contribution. But there is still time to get back to the initial weight with a few more miles on the treadmill and a few less pieces of chocolate-covered toffee.

    While I am trying to stave off the winter weight-gain, others are joyfully enjoying each and every Christmas cookie, knowing there is light at the end of the tunnel in the form of the YMCA’ Lighten Up Team Challenge.

    There is still time to sign up for the 2018 Lighten Up program. Registrations will be accepted through Saturday, Dec. 30. You can sign up as a team, with up to 15 team members, or individually, where you will be placed on a team to do the weekly team workouts over the next three months.

    The initial weigh-ins and fitness assessments will be the week of Jan. 2, 2018. The challenge kicks off Sunday, Jan. 7, with an all-team group work-out. The YMCA gym will be filled wall-to-wall with people moving and jumping and, for those who haven’t moved this much in a long time, grabbing the person next them to keep from passing out. It is a sight to behold - that many people doing burpees and planks in unison - as people begin what will hopefully become a lifestyle change and a lifelong journey.

    The cost is $50 to join Lighten Up, which just coincidentally is the same cost as the YMCA’s joiner fee which is being waved during all of December for new members. So it is the perfect opportunity to join the YMCA without the joiner fee and apply those savings to joining the Lighten Up challenge.

    ***

    With the upcoming holidays, the YMCA will have a few changes to the facility’s schedule.

    The YMCA will be open regular hours through Saturday, Dec. 23, but will be closed Sunday on Christmas Eve as well as Monday for Christmas. Regular hours will resume Tuesday, Jan. 26, opening at 5 a.m.

    The entire YMCA staff would like to wish everyone a safe and Merry Christmas.

     Text

  • 21-Dec-2017

With Christmas just a few days away, I have achieved a major accomplishment: I haven’t baked, created, or made a single Christmas candy or cookie.

The cookie cutters are still on the top shelf, untouched since last December. The peanuts are still waiting to be turned into peanut brittle. And the Hershey kisses are only unwrapped to be eaten immediately instead of topping the peanut butter cookie.

But that’s not to say I haven’t had my fair share of Christmas cookies and candies this holiday season already. Despite not getting to the holiday baking yet this year, gift packages of fudge and frosted sugar cookies have arrived on a regular basis. Trays of green, white and red confectionaries are available at every gathering for four weeks straight. And who can pass up the plate of goodies in the break room at the office?

Which makes it all that much harder to stay competitive with my friends, who have placed a wager among ourselves to “maintain, not gain” over the holidays. They each entrusted me with a small wager to see who could get through Christmas and New Year’s without the nearly-mandatory holiday weight gain.

We didn’t even try to fool ourselves that we would lose weight during December. Maybe some people have that willpower, but we just wanted to lessen the casualties of the season. It’s pretty simple: We must weigh the same (give or take one pound) or less on Jan. 3. Those who can achieve that goal get their money back. Those who fail lose their money and it is divided among the winners.

It is enough motivation to get up on a cold, dark morning to go to the YMCA for a morning swim, when the warm, comfy bed is calling your name. O.K., the bed does win out some mornings, but that wager gets you up the next day for a fitness class or a couple miles on the treadmill.

I will admit that if I had to weigh in today, my friends would be splitting my contribution. But there is still time to get back to the initial weight with a few more miles on the treadmill and a few less pieces of chocolate-covered toffee.

While I am trying to stave off the winter weight-gain, others are joyfully enjoying each and every Christmas cookie, knowing there is light at the end of the tunnel in the form of the YMCA’ Lighten Up Team Challenge.

There is still time to sign up for the 2018 Lighten Up program. Registrations will be accepted through Saturday, Dec. 30. You can sign up as a team, with up to 15 team members, or individually, where you will be placed on a team to do the weekly team workouts over the next three months.

The initial weigh-ins and fitness assessments will be the week of Jan. 2, 2018. The challenge kicks off Sunday, Jan. 7, with an all-team group work-out. The YMCA gym will be filled wall-to-wall with people moving and jumping and, for those who haven’t moved this much in a long time, grabbing the person next them to keep from passing out. It is a sight to behold - that many people doing burpees and planks in unison - as people begin what will hopefully become a lifestyle change and a lifelong journey.

The cost is $50 to join Lighten Up, which just coincidentally is the same cost as the YMCA’s joiner fee which is being waved during all of December for new members. So it is the perfect opportunity to join the YMCA without the joiner fee and apply those savings to joining the Lighten Up challenge.

***

With the upcoming holidays, the YMCA will have a few changes to the facility’s schedule.

The YMCA will be open regular hours through Saturday, Dec. 23, but will be closed Sunday on Christmas Eve as well as Monday for Christmas. Regular hours will resume Tuesday, Jan. 26, opening at 5 a.m.

The entire YMCA staff would like to wish everyone a safe and Merry Christmas.

 Text

After the Ironman...

  • Last Saturday, I spent over an hour and a half swimming around in the ocean. No, I was not lost.

    There was a purpose - it was the first of the three events in an Ironman triathlon. After 2.4 miles, I emerged from the Gulf of Mexico in Florida and then continued on for a 112-mile bike followed by a marathon. It was slow going but I, along with my hubby Jon Graff, and training partners Chris Schaben of McCook and Ben Ratliff of North Platte, all covered the 140.6 miles.

    Before you say, “I could never do that,” I would quickly disagree and offer up the Ironman motto: Anything is possible. But I would add an asterisk: With a lot of training.

    Nearly a year of training led up to the triathlon, which brings us to the YMCA. During one of my long swims in the YMCA pool this fall, I realized how lucky we are to have a facility like the YMCA in our community. And I’m not just saying that because I work there.

    While it would be possible to train for a full-length triathlon utilizing the lakes, roads and paths in our area, the level of difficulty rises tremendously. You are contending with wind and rain, sunsets which inch earlier every day, debris on the highway and drivers who aren’t used to sharing the road with bikers and runners.

    In fact, I did a practice swim in Red Willow Lake in early October so I could get in a final open-water swim. For the next three weeks, I was hacking and coughing. Coincidence? Maybe, but luckily I had the YMCA pool to complete the training leading up to the triathlon.

    I am the first to admit that there were times I dreaded spending a couple hours on the treadmill with only episodes of Law and Order to pass the time or when I got tired of seeing people come and go as I peddled away on the bike. I confess that I never tired of confusing people with my lap counter at the end of the pool….it only made sense in my head.

    So why did I take this particular week to resume the Y Notes column? For starters, I’ve got a little more free time on my hands now that Jon and I aren’t training multiple hours each day.

    But more importantly, today is Big Give McCook, a one-day, fund-raiser led by Community Chest. The YMCA is unique because it is a giving station as well as recipient of funds from the Big Give.

    Today is a great day to show your support for the YMCA along with the 20 other non-profits which are part of Big Give McCook. By combining donations, large and small, we can make a difference for these organizations, which are vital to a vibrant community. So stop by the YMCA before 10 p.m. or donate online at www.biggivemccook.org until midnight. Either way, today is your chance to make a difference in the community and show your appreciation for these organizations.

    ***
    Since we are gong personal this week, I must note there is another benefit to working out at the YMCA. The YMCA is vital not only for your physical health but also your mental health. Many relationships and friendships have been formed and nurtured at the YMCA.

    I am part of a morning coffee club, which means we try to exercise first and then gather for a cup or two coffee afterward. Occasionally the exercise portion gets dropped but not often.

    This group of women knew the amount of training I had put into this triathlon. They knew how difficult completing not one, but three sports continuously can be. They knew how hard it was to get up in the dark each morning for a workout and try not to go to bed at 6 p.m.

    So I felt truly blessed when they surprised me this week with a party during coffee at Sehnert’s to celebrate the Ironman. This group came together because of our desire to lead a healthy lifestyle, but we stick together because we appreciate the dedication we each have. So I’m going to embarrass them by calling out Angie Nielsen, Shannon Pevoteaux, Bobbi Barton, Marilyn Brandt, Martha Roe, Gail Wagner, Jean Niebur, and Travi Rambali, along with Beth Bethell, Kristy Pillow and JoHanna Scott.

    I’m not curing cancer by completing a triathlon. In fact it’s a very greedy endeavor as the training claims large amounts of our time. But hopefully, in the end I can inspire others to take on a triathlon or to start exercising or even more important, to try to something out of their comfort zone because anything is possible.

     Text

  • 19-Oct-2017

Last Saturday, I spent over an hour and a half swimming around in the ocean. No, I was not lost.

There was a purpose - it was the first of the three events in an Ironman triathlon. After 2.4 miles, I emerged from the Gulf of Mexico in Florida and then continued on for a 112-mile bike followed by a marathon. It was slow going but I, along with my hubby Jon Graff, and training partners Chris Schaben of McCook and Ben Ratliff of North Platte, all covered the 140.6 miles.

Before you say, “I could never do that,” I would quickly disagree and offer up the Ironman motto: Anything is possible. But I would add an asterisk: With a lot of training.

Nearly a year of training led up to the triathlon, which brings us to the YMCA. During one of my long swims in the YMCA pool this fall, I realized how lucky we are to have a facility like the YMCA in our community. And I’m not just saying that because I work there.

While it would be possible to train for a full-length triathlon utilizing the lakes, roads and paths in our area, the level of difficulty rises tremendously. You are contending with wind and rain, sunsets which inch earlier every day, debris on the highway and drivers who aren’t used to sharing the road with bikers and runners.

In fact, I did a practice swim in Red Willow Lake in early October so I could get in a final open-water swim. For the next three weeks, I was hacking and coughing. Coincidence? Maybe, but luckily I had the YMCA pool to complete the training leading up to the triathlon.

I am the first to admit that there were times I dreaded spending a couple hours on the treadmill with only episodes of Law and Order to pass the time or when I got tired of seeing people come and go as I peddled away on the bike. I confess that I never tired of confusing people with my lap counter at the end of the pool….it only made sense in my head.

So why did I take this particular week to resume the Y Notes column? For starters, I’ve got a little more free time on my hands now that Jon and I aren’t training multiple hours each day.

But more importantly, today is Big Give McCook, a one-day, fund-raiser led by Community Chest. The YMCA is unique because it is a giving station as well as recipient of funds from the Big Give.

Today is a great day to show your support for the YMCA along with the 20 other non-profits which are part of Big Give McCook. By combining donations, large and small, we can make a difference for these organizations, which are vital to a vibrant community. So stop by the YMCA before 10 p.m. or donate online at www.biggivemccook.org until midnight. Either way, today is your chance to make a difference in the community and show your appreciation for these organizations.

***
Since we are gong personal this week, I must note there is another benefit to working out at the YMCA. The YMCA is vital not only for your physical health but also your mental health. Many relationships and friendships have been formed and nurtured at the YMCA.

I am part of a morning coffee club, which means we try to exercise first and then gather for a cup or two coffee afterward. Occasionally the exercise portion gets dropped but not often.

This group of women knew the amount of training I had put into this triathlon. They knew how difficult completing not one, but three sports continuously can be. They knew how hard it was to get up in the dark each morning for a workout and try not to go to bed at 6 p.m.

So I felt truly blessed when they surprised me this week with a party during coffee at Sehnert’s to celebrate the Ironman. This group came together because of our desire to lead a healthy lifestyle, but we stick together because we appreciate the dedication we each have. So I’m going to embarrass them by calling out Angie Nielsen, Shannon Pevoteaux, Bobbi Barton, Marilyn Brandt, Martha Roe, Gail Wagner, Jean Niebur, and Travi Rambali, along with Beth Bethell, Kristy Pillow and JoHanna Scott.

I’m not curing cancer by completing a triathlon. In fact it’s a very greedy endeavor as the training claims large amounts of our time. But hopefully, in the end I can inspire others to take on a triathlon or to start exercising or even more important, to try to something out of their comfort zone because anything is possible.

 Text